State Coroner Marvin Bay has ruled the death of a six year old at Grand Mercure Singapore Roxy Hotel at East Coast Road was a tragic misadventure yesterday. The father was looking at his mobile phone when his daughter was having trouble in the water.
Coroner Bay stressed that adults should not make use of electronic devices while supervising children in the water because drowning can occur swiftly and silently.
Mr Zacharias Alexander Karamoy was with his non-swimmer daughter at the hotel pool. After finishing with his phone, he looked up and saw, to his horror, his little girl motionless at the bottom of the deeper end.
The Indonesian immediately jumped into the pool to rescue his child. But it was too late.
His daughter, Neisha Sandra Karamoy, who had not been wearing a flotation device, suffered brain death and died in KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) two days later.
Coroner Bay also said that young children should use personal flotation devices when they enter bodies of water.He added: “Nevertheless, it is important to remember these buoyancy aids, however helpful they may appear, are only aids and cannot drown-proof a child. “They certainly do not replace close adult supervision in water of all depths.”
Mr Karamoy, his wife, Madam Ni Ketut Sawitri, and their two children, Neisha and her seven-year-old brother, were in Singapore for a holiday. Madam Ni was not at the pool as she was attending a course at SIA training centre.
Coroner Bay said: “Mr Karamoy sat at the side of the pool while the siblings played in the pool.
“Mr Karamoy was browsing his mobile phone, and from time to time, he would check on them.”
At the poolside, Neisha made a new friend, a five-year-old Singaporean girl, identified in court papers only as “Miss A”.
The two girls were playing in the shallow part of the pool, which was 80cm deep, when Neisha wanted to go to the deeper side. That part of the pool was 1.2m deep while Neisha was only 1.15m tall.
When they reached there, Miss A panicked after she realised she could not touch the bottom.
Coroner Bay said: “She started to wave her hands vigorously and tried to get attention. (Neisha) was in front of her and was also seen struggling.”
An unknown woman managed to rescue Miss A and took her back to the shallow side where the steps to the pool were.
The little girl’s mother, who was nearby, rushed forward to console her daughter before the pair returned to their hotel room.
At around 10.30am, Mr Karamoy looked up from his mobile phone and noticed that only his son was at the shallow end.
He then spotted his daughter motionless at the bottom of the pool and immediately jumped into the water to pull her out.
Hotel staff performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Neisha and an ambulance arrived at around 10.45am to take her to KKH.
A CT scan later revealed she had suffered severe brain damage.
Brainstem testing also showed that she had suffered brain death.
After a family conference with her doctor, Mr Karamoy made the painful decision to withdraw his daughter’s life support at around 1.30pm on April 6.